I’d been living out of suitcases most of the summer.
“There are as many worlds as there are kinds of days, and as an opal changes its colors and its fire to match the nature of a day, so do I.” ― John Steinbeck
The farm was still bustling, albeit abuzz, primarily, with the sounds of grasshoppers so thick in the tall grass that it seemed an apocalyptic event. They’d eaten an acre’s worth of summer vegetables. They had been sport for the dogs and cats and chickens and ducks (goats, all vegetarians,were unfettered, if not just a bit miffed as to what grasshoppers could do to a perfectly lovely patch of chard) for a while, but quickly became just as tiresome to them. It was the most difficult of the five summers I had lived with the animals and the crops. Rosemary and thyme were the only surviving vegetation. No rain. For months. Heat so brutal and oppressive that it felt as if Mother Nature herself was bidding me adieu. Nothing thrived. Least of all, me.
I was spent.
The brutal summers, the ongoing drought, the infestations, the doubling of costs of feed, gasoline, (really awful) water left no room in the budget for additional help, and the joy I once experienced began to flag with the realization that it was all becoming too much to handle.
Certainly there were other factors involved in the transition, and many days, still quite fine. I had developed close friendships in the area, found a church community, and being just miles from the most beautiful hiking in the Hill Country, my sweet canine hiking buddies accompanied me on near-solo sojourns whenever the fancy struck. I wasn't all doom and gloom. But that's what made the decisions with which I was faced so difficult. .
Just as the story meanders a bit, so did my life, those days, last summer. Back and forth, country to city and back, living here, living there. Navigating the changes gave me just about all I could handle. Sadly, the writing was on the wall.
I’m not one to do so hastily, in fact I'm more likely to stick around far past the use by date, but, finally, finally, I would pull the white flag from the pocket of my dusty overalls and wave it in the wind.
So it was that my summer's project became taking the leap from rural to urban life. Adjusting to the idea that I would, again, be a city girl. I would no longer be the soul engineer of my days, the boss of anything growing. In fact, I didn't even feel like I was the boss of me.
I felt aimless. A little lost.
I remember days, past--I would throw caution to the wind, and make major moves and life changes without the blink of an eye. With blithesome, foolish confidence, I’d made it work before in so many circumstances. My younger self was downright cavalier about such matters, wholly.
Maturity has a sobering effect.
I wrestled for months,
Who would I be?
Well, if you've read along, you know the rest of the story up until now, at least. I shared it a few weeks ago, here. And you know that all of those questions have been answered in bits and pieces, but not completely, just yet. It's no small feat to relocate to a small townhouse from a working farm. Each new day brings new changes. I've learned to pare down to what's really precious-- outwardly, and inwardly. I've learned that small details of life are not at all small, often.
++++++++The simple pleasure of occasional, leisurely breakfast is restorative. The mindful acts involved in the preparation of a meal for one's self, the order of delight, can be the antidote to the scattered, anxious, relocated. I know it was for me one day.
From those early, tumultuous summer months it was now approaching Fall. I'd moved in. Waking from the first night in my new home. I'd whiled hours, the full day before, setting up, first, the kitchen. It was domestic bliss. I was making home. Once the kitchen was set, I would sleep. Even if the mattress was still on the floor. Once the finishing flourishes were completed (OH, is it really every finished?!) the kitchen, even before any other room was touched, I was home.
I made a mental inventory. I planned to make myself Eggs Benedict. I had not one English muffin, no Canadian bacon, but the rest? Check. I made a few culinary geographic shifts....I baked a baguette the night before, so the English ceded to France. I had delicious razor-thin rashers of prosciutto, hence Canada gave it up to Italy. I'm not a stickler for details when I'm ravenous.
This week, I'm going to share a few peaks at my new digs. We'll talk about making a fool-proof hollandaise sauce, fixing the (maybe not THAT) foolproof sauce, the perfectly-poached egg, and a lesson on selecting fresh eggs. We will leave these technical trials and tests for another day.
That day, months ago, there is the morning light, filtering in through the blinds, illuminating my grandmother's small drop leaf table where I'll sit. There is the crisp crack of an egg shell, the bubbling of brewing coffee. A bread knife breaking the crackling crust of golden, tangy sourdough. Eggs, and lemon, and oil whir into a silken salve. Humming along to a silent song, I am in my element. A symphony of culinary intrigue--what will become the cure for all ills this day, these few, simple ingredients.
It was glorious. It was the best breakfast I've ever had.